1. White Nights Festival, Russia
Dates: May 23-July 29
The two-month-long international arts festival is celebrated during the season of the midnight sun in St. Petersburg. Festivities include classical ballet, opera and music events featuring both Russian and international artists. The Scarlet Sails celebration (pictured), with its spectacular fireworks, is the festival’s highlight.
2. Stonehenge Summer Solstice Festival, England
Dates: June 18-21
The event, which marks mid-summer in the northern hemisphere, is celebrated with gusto at the 5,000-year-old prehistoric monument of Stonehenge in Wiltshire. The summer solstice event, which attracts more than 20,000 participants every year, is increasingly getting popular for its live entertainment that features a range of local and international artists.
3. San Francisco Pride, California, US
Dates: June 29-30
Held every year since 1970, the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Celebration is an annual event to celebrate and empower the LGBT community. It is one of the most famous and largest pride parades in the world and is traditionally held in the last full weekend in June.
4. Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland
Dates: June 28-July 13 (Tentative)
Started in 1967 as a pure jazz festival, it has since widened its scope to include blues, soul, rock, hip-hop, acid jazz, techno and world music. The festival has recorded all its performances over the years and this 5,000 hours’ worth of collection is recognized by UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.
5. Kirkpinar Oil Wrestling Festival, Edirne, Turkey
One of the oldest annual sporting events in the world, this 700-year-old festival was recognized by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage Event in 2010. Men bathed in olive oil wrestle it out to win the title of Chief Pehilvan (chief wrestler) and the Kirkpinar Golden Belt.
6. Running Of The Bulls, Spain
Dates: July 6-14
Believed to have originated in the 13th century, the Running of the Bulls is a part of the festival of San (Saint) Fermin celebrated annually in Pamplona. Every day, fighting bulls run down a narrow, winding, fenced alley with participants racing ahead to a bull ring at the end of the route.
7. Naadam, Mongolia
Dates: July 11-15
The festival of Naadam is deeply rooted in Mongolian cultural practices and predates the legendary Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan. It features three games, also called “Danshig,” namely Mongolian wrestling, horse racing and archery. In 2010, Naadam was inscribed on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity of UNESCO.
8. Boryeong Mud Festival, South Korea
Dates: July 12-21 (Tentative)
People from across the country and thousands of tourists descend on the city of Boryeong to immerse themselves in the mineral-rich mud found in this region which, it is claimed, is an effective beauty treatment. The festival involves a variety of activities ranging from wrestling to photo contests.
9. Notting Hill Carnival, England
Dates: Aug. 24-26
Hailed as one of the largest street festivals in the world, the carnival offers a mix of family-friendly events and the famous parade, with its extravagantly dressed dancers celebrating the Caribbean heritage. The festival traces its roots to 1959 when Claudia Jones, an immigrant from Trinidad, started the festival to bridge cultural differences and embrace diversity.